Ohio County Schools Robotics Teams Prepare for World Championships in Dallas | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo by: Joselyn King

Ethan Matz, senior at Wheeling Park High School, demonstrates the Iron Patriots MK 1 robot that his team recently used to win the State Skills Championship.

WHEELING – The Ohio County Schools robotics teams beat most in West Virginia at the state robotics championships this month, and now they’re looking to take on the world.

40 Ohio County students are on their way to the Vex Robotics World Championship April 25-27 at Kay Bailey Hutchinson Arena in Dallas.

One of the students is Wheeling Park High School senior Azariah Bayes, the “driver” of the Iron Patriots MK 4 robot that won the overall state championship in West Virginia.

West Virginia received spots for 14 teams at the World Cup, and Ohio County Schools took nine of those—three for WPHS, four from Bridge Street Middle School, and two from Triadelphia Middle School.

Photo by: Joselyn King

Wheeling Park High School senior Azariah Bayes demonstrates the Iron Patriots MK 4 robot that his team recently used to win the overall state championship and a place at the World Finals in Dallas.

Bayes said the best and most efficient robot in the competition isn’t always what gives his team a win. The robots are built and coded to shoot as many discs as possible into a net within 45 seconds.

“I wouldn’t say the robot is better — I practice a lot,” Bayes said. “I can overtake all of our opponents and I can overtake all of our opponents.

“Our robot is above average, but again, I wouldn’t say it’s the robot. It’s about driving practice with my driving team and time management on the pitch.”

He took over driving the robot after the season started, but including class time, he estimates that he practices driving the robot for about three hours each day.

He said some modifications will be made to the robot ahead of the World Cup and that instead of shooting four targets at once, it will be able to shoot six – giving the team the opportunity to score more points during the allotted time period.

Bayes hopes to pursue a career in engineering while he is in college and is exploring the option of attending Purdue University or the online University of Southern New Hampshire.

WPHS Senior Ethan Matz and his team Iron Patriots MK 1 also qualified for the World Championship and won the Skills Championship for West Virginia.

He knows what sets his team’s robot apart from the rest.

“It’s fast – faster than the others,” he said. “It’s probably the fastest in the state and it probably shoots the fastest too.”

Matz said he made some modifications to the robot’s motors during the season to increase its speed.

Bridge Street Middle School eighth graders Mya White and Emma McNickle are looking forward to a trip to Dallas. Her Steels Devil III team was the state tournament champion among middle school competitors.

They added that they were looking forward to meeting new people from all over the world and improving their coding skills.

Ohio County Schools innovation coordinator JoJo Shay has about a month to coordinate the logistics to bring the 40 students and nine teams, their coaches and chaperones to Dallas.

That’s double the number of robotics students who traveled to Dallas for last year’s world championships, she said. It was their first year of competition, and Ohio County Schools sent four teams.

“We qualified nine teams this year and it’s a testament to their passion for robotics, their level of competition and their desire to reach the next level,” she said. “This year we have a lot more children.”

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